Peterborough’s Heritage Bus

Cllr Nash has suggested that Peterborough has its own sightseeing bus, and Paul Stainton talks to Theresa Wood from the Council about how that might work, and where the bus could visit.

07:21 Friday 22nd October 2010
Peterborough Breakfast Show BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: Now, it’s time to get on board. (MUSIC: The Wheels on the Bus) Peterborough could soon have its own Heritage Bus. Yes, a sightseeing bus for Peterborough, that would link up the city’s most famous attractions. The idea is in the planning stages, but it’s hoped to open in time for next summer … The idea for the new sightseeing bus came from former Mayor Councillor Pat Nash. Joining me to talk about it this morning is Theresa Wood, Group Manager for Transport at Peterborough City Council. Morning.
THERESA WOOD: Morning Paul.
PS: You’ll support the idea will you? Is it a good idea?
TW: I’m not sure about support the idea. It isn’t a new idea as such. We had a tourist bus some time ago, which used to travel out to Flag Fen and Ferry Meadows. But over the recent years we’ve had to direct the funding to what we call more socially necessary services. So that’s the ones that ensure older people can get to the dentists, to the doctors and to the shops. We do have a Sunday service, amd that travels out to the rural areas. And that’s used by a group of walkers quite regularly. So that’s a sort of tourist bus, and that travels fairly near to the John Clare Museum. So you can get out to those type of attractions in Peterborough. But I suppose there’s a difficulty in getting out to Flag Fen, which I think was one of Councillor Nash’s concerns.
PS: So this is not going to be an open-topped sightseeing bus?
TW: No. We had an open-topped bus in Peterborough some years ago, probably around two thousand, two thousand and two.
PS: I remember it well.
TW: Yes. And it was quite popular for what it was. And that travelled between Ferry Meadows, the City Centre and out to Flag Fen. One of the difficulties with Flag Fen is it is on that road where there isn’t much else for a bus to serve. So it really purely would be a tourist bus. It isn’t that we can serve very many residents on the same service that makes it more of a viable service.
PS: Right. OK. So where, if this bus goes come to fruition, where’s it going to stop, apart from Flag Fen?
TW: We’ve got a basic route and timetable at the moment, because what we do is always look out for funding streams that would support such a service. It would definitely need to service Ferry Meadows, Flag Fen, perhaps other attractions that do lie out of the city centre, like the John Clare Museum, and all of the countryside out on that side of the city. Because we’ve got some lovely attractions, Barnack Hills and Hollows, Sacrewell Farm. And if we can use a bus to get more people out to those attractions,maybe by incentive, working with the attraction, free coffee or something in their cafe, it does encourage people to travel more and think more about public transport as an alternative form of transport.
PS: Do you think the people of Peterborough a: will support it and b: could they suggest some stops for you?
TW: We’d love them to suggest some stops, and if we can work them in. But the key for us at the moment is trying to locate some funding, and we’ve been doing that for a while. There are some various funding streams that come on board at various times, and we haven’t been successful in those over the recent eighteen months. So we’re now looking out for another funding stream that we could plug in to.
PS: Is it the green way to go, with the new bus, do you think?
TW: Yes you could certainly .. more bus travel is always good, but what you don’t want is empty buses either. You could look at electric buses, bio-fuel buses, so they’re much more environmentally friendly as well. So you certainly could build it into the whole environmental capital aspiration.
PS: .. Good stuff. Theresa, thank you for coming on this morning. And thank you for having some fun with the bus. (BELL RINGS) And we’ll continue to push for it, because I think a sightseeing bus going round Peterborough would be absolutely brilliant.